Photo: Nikko & Tania – Bachata performance at Latin Dance Australia‘s Monthly Social Party, 2008
Some people think that once they’ve learnt how to dance to an advanced level of any style they will be safe, there won’t be any more bad dances.
You have but to start, to realize how mistaken you are. Bad dances are around the corner, no matter how good you or your partner are, so are the exceptionally good ones. They can appear in an advanced level or the good ones can surprise ones from the complete beginners level. Dancing is a mystical thing; it’s influenced by simply everything, the moon, the stars, the cockroach under the table next to a phobic girl.
Obviously it’s influenced by the music, how you are dressed and the smells. Ah the smells! (Sigh.) There was once a party I was at that I could swear I smelled like pheromones.
The moon? If someone is walking to a party and there is a full moon he or she can get especially inspired. Chemistry, always, the search for a perfect dance is about the right partner… at that moment.
It happened to me more than once, that you have this amazing dance with that one guy yet and all the times you dance with him later on, it never feels the same. You keep thinking he must have howled to the full moon on that one night. What? You never howled using all the air in your lungs as a werewolf to the full moon? I want to do it every full moon.
The same way the stars can dictate the bliss we search, at every first accords of a dancing song, they can dictate the complete disaster, or maybe even a half-calamity, the best idea is to laugh about it.
I’m pretty confident with some dance styles — my favourites are bachata and zouk/lambada — but my salsa, is still … getting there: punched in the nose.
I was dancing with this guy, really good, all about show moves — even got carried around a few times while my mouth emitted these high pitched noises one can’t control when someone does something unexpected. The first thing I learned in my recent career as a social dancer is “don’t get intimidated” the worst that can happen is that he won’t dance with you again. That is what I used to think; now I have changed my “worst”. The worst that can happen is you getting punched in the nose… by his head.
No big deal, the said nose didn’t break, while he asked: are you all right? I put on my bravest face and found my missing voice: I’m… alll… rite (try to say “right” with your nose blocked and tell me if you have any success!) While two lonely tears ran rebelliously from my eyes.
Another thing is that I thought I might start considering, was wearing a helmet with wig, now an essential item for zouk courses, especially beginners, for the girls. I know it is always the guys fault, but when I banged my head into another lady’s it wasn’t their heads that went spinning. So I thought: “if they knew all about dancing and how to control the lady they would not need to be in a class, therefore the ideal is for us to wear helmets” and the teacher added: “but we will need a wig on top of it because zouk has to have hair flicking all over the place!”. After all a man that dances zouk without eating hair is not dancing zouk.
What I consider bad dances are simply about the hands, as I’m still half way to the moon with my salsa, my following abilities can be comprised as missing hands. Don’t you hate when you are half way to a turn and you see his hand just hanging there, and your spinning and dizzy neurones realize: oh! That was for me! I’m turning the wrong way! But its too late, by the end of the turn he is wearing his “you’ve turned the wrong way” face which is a half-smile, usually with half the mouth and eyebrows a bit upper than they should be; and the hand is gone.
Exactly at the moment you’ve decided to offer him your hand. And it then feels like a kid’s game where one hand goes forth when the other’s is being retracted and vice versa.
But when you are thinking “I’m crap” you have this dance with this special partner, he can be an intermediate level, but so are you, and you just have so much fun dancing together, and he is such a good leader, that there are no missed hands, no wrong turns, the movements are simple but creative, and you see him smiling at you, and even if something is not perfect, it’s still all right, sometimes you even get away from each other because of the layer of sweat, the hands couldn’t hold. When you are finished you keep thinking: What a dance!
As the Master always says: the Good will always surpass the Bad. So one good dance will keep you going through thousands of average ones and quite a few bad as well. The message is clear: keep dancing!
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